“Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” Prov 27:6
“But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ…” Eph 4:15
What is confrontation? Is it biblical and essential?
The word “confrontation” is generally associated with conflict and considered to be something negative or even destructive. Confrontation is usually related to hostile situations where two or more political parties or strong-willed people are intensely argumentative or strongly opposing each another. But this need not be the case.
Two Biblical examples of confrontation:
A) Nathan confronts David (2 Sam 12:1-14)
- Nathan knew David, his role as king, and his responsibility before God
- Nathan deeply cared for David and wanted God’s very best for him
- Nathan’s words were tactful, spoken in truth and love to restore him
B) Jesus confronts the rich young ruler (Mark 10:17-31)
- Jesus clarified the convictions of this respectable, religious young man
- Jesus loved this young man enough to confront him with God’s truth
- Jesus allowed the young man to let the truth set him free—but did it?
Why should Christians care to confront?
A) It is needed for a healthy relationship
Confrontation seeks to build up, not tear down the other person. It is caring for a wavering believer’s moral or spiritual wellbeing. It is doing or saying the right words or the right thing to set a relationship right. It is knowing “how to speak a word in season” (Isa 50:4). Spoken properly and when necessary, it can be sign of a holy, healthy, and growing relationship. Confrontation is a mark of maturity, even Christlikeness.
B) Can be helpful in building strong friendships
Some people neither like to be confronted nor care enough to confront someone else, even when they know it is desperately needed. There is a time to be silent and a time to speak (Eccl 1:7). Words that confront must be corrective, yet constructive. “Like apples of gold in pitchers of silver” they show the great value in a friendship. They can strengthen the relationship “as iron sharpens iron” (Prov 25: 11; 27:17).
How must caring Christians confront?
The sincere goal in confrontation is to restore godliness and renew usefulness to a broken relationship.
A) We must be mindful that our words have power
A true friend understands the power of words. So confrontation must come from someone who knows and respects you, and is willing to stay with you through the process of reconciliation. Such words stem from a heart that yearns to cultivate a productive and lasting relationship. Christians direct their words carefully and keep them to a bare minimum, knowing we can sin when we use too many words (Prov 19:19)
Christians need to be careful to speak the truth in love.
Memorize Ephesians 4:2 for the type of words to use, and always T-H-I-N-K before you confront someone:
1) Are all the facts True?
2) Am I doing it with Humility
3) Will my words Inspire change and draw people nearer to God?
4) Are all or any of my words Necessary?
5) Is my language Kind?